Friday, July 31, 2009

Keep Learning (with audio)


Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
(Proverbs 19:27 – ESV)

If we’re not in the Word of God, then we’re not in the will of God, so we won’t have the wisdom of God, therefore we will be taken captive by the wooing of the world, the wants of the flesh, and the wiles of the devil.

We are all in a spiritual battle. There is no reason for you to believe that you will be successful in Spiritual warfare without having your sword sharpened and your armor on (Ephesians 6:10-18). If we are in an intimate, present reality, dynamic relationship with Christ, we will be invincible, in a sense. But when we look away from Jesus we, like Peter, begin to see the storms of life, and sink under our own weight of unbelief.

God wants communion with us; if we become lax in our prayer life, Bible study, and our corporate worship, fellowship, and stewardship, we will suffer. No matter how long we have been a Christian or how many verses we have memorized, our flow will be hampered. It is our constant communion with God that gives the Word its power in our personal lives. It is the Spirit that gives life. To stop the flow of communication means that using the Bible can become an exercise in our own strength, a one-way street where you just go to the Word when you feel like you need it. You can’t bottle the blessings of God (Exodus 16:15-21); that is why we are to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).

The wisdom from God is predicated upon a present tense relationship with Him. No amount of “build up” or maturity can take this fact away. Want proof? How about Solomon: Once he strayed from God, he sank into apostasy. If it can happen to the wisest man who ever lived, then surely it can happen to us. Consider also Samson and Saul; if your character doesn’t grow in proportion to your anointing, it will crush you.

Modern day examples abound. Consider the great preachers who had anointing by the barrelful yet fell all the way down the mountain because they trusted in the past without tending to the present, treating God as a means to an end, rather than their relationship with Him being the purpose itself. He is not a cosmic concierge, waiting at our beck and call.

Looking to our own lives, and the corporate life of the local churches, we cannot simply rest on our laurels. Leaders are to set the example, to live by a higher standard so that those who follow have something to look forward to. When called to lead we must do exactly that: lead, not lounge. We must move forward, not sit idle. We must continue to learn if we are to continue to lead, else we will learn, the hard way.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Recognize and Realize (with audio)


So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 6:11 – ESV)

There is a difference, perhaps subtle, but a difference nonetheless, between recognition and realization. Most would see these terms as synonyms for the same thing, namely that they both mean to come to an awareness of something. However, for the purposes of our discussion, and for clarity in our understanding of how sanctification works, we point out the process of progress using these two words. This distinction will help us tremendously as we move along the process in our progress toward sanctification. Conversely, the lack of a distinction in these terms can cause a hindrance in our growth. We misunderstand what recognition means, and therefore we fail to achieve realization in our lives.

As we come to know something, in that we become aware of its reality, its presence, and its importance, we can be said to recognize it. Now when we go from a mere awareness to a more full understanding, or apprehension, what we are doing is realizing something. To recognize something is to spot it, to realize something is to capture it.

See the difference? Now lets make it real, shall we?

Again, there is a difference between the two and it can be stated thus. Recognizing something is about seeing it. Identifying, acknowledging something. Realizing is about being it. We internalize it, we make it real to our situation, and we cash in on the idea.

For example, we go from recognizing there is sin in the world and that you have sinned into realizing that you are a sinner when you find yourself doing it in practice. We go from recognizing that Jesus paid for your sins to realizing it in the practice of sanctification in your life. You see a verse many times, read it and even meditate on it, but then one day the Holy Spirit applies that verse because it jumps out at you and you see it for your life, it becomes real.

In some ways, the difference between recognition and realization is the difference between the indicative and imperative. You know what the Word says about you, and then you become what it means for you. If you can recognize the fact, then you can realize the future.

Let's go from seeing it to being it.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Want To (with audio)


For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
(Philippians 2:13)

Most believers, and especially those that have been a Christian for more than a couple of years, will certainly identify with the ongoing struggle for sanctification. It just doesn’t happen overnight, and all the secrets, keys, steps, and principles, all the seminars, conferences, churches, books, and preaching we have heard never seems to quite get us over the hump. Or perhaps it seems to for a while, but then we fall back down, get frustrated, and we wonder what to do next until the new thing comes along, and we go right back on the boom and bust bicycle.

We can articulate it like this. We start out with what we might call “riotism”, where the operative phrase describing our pursuit of sanctification would be “don't go, forget God”. However, when we find that our distaste for life and our desire for God increases, we want our “want to” to increase more. Not knowing what to do next, we start by trying harder. We then move on to pietism, where we strive to serve King Jesus with all the discipline we can muster, with the operative phrase being “go and get God”. Eventually, all our meager efforts at self-sanctification are just that, meager, and we meet someone who introduces us to the concept of “absolute surrender”, or a promise of a deeper life, or some sort of thing. This is when we have entered the realm of quietism, its operative phrase being “let go and let God”.

Finally, hopefully, we mature to the truth about sanctification, with its operative phrase being “don't let go of God”. We see Him as more beautiful than anything else, and we foster and feed this into our minds, and it sinks down into our hearts, it comes out of our mouths, and it is what we increasingly want to be all about. It is less and less a fight to get there, and only a fight to keep other things at bay, until we see them as less also, and when they arrive on the scene they are more easily dismissed. We progress and develop into maturity, using flawed means until we get the picture and enter in to the resting of the Gospel.

We start out, when we are serious, with a patterned discipline and measured devotion, which most often leads to a boom and bust spirituality, we try next to "absolutely surrender", which seems closer, but is still not there yet. When we get the real picture of our sorry state, and have glimpses of what TRUE fellowship is like (not Schleirmacher's "feeling of absolute dependence" but a cleansing of our will in conformity to God's), then we "want it".

When we finally realize that fellowship with God is incomparable with anything else, it has a pronounced effect. Not so much that people don't see us sin, we probably already had that licked, the outside that is, but that now, to our own hearts, we know that we just don't "want" that stuff anymore, at all, its rubbish. Our “want to” has changed.

Its like, for a crude example, having a toy that is deteriorating, a car, lets say, and then getting a car that is new, and runs on batteries, and makes noises, etc. We have no DESIRE to have the old car anymore. Of course that is a weak example, in that Christ is not just a "better car", He is in a totally different category than anything else, as we said, incomparable. Oh, that we might find this in our daily walk, EVERY DAY! To God be the glory, as we become light bearers, and more than just a dimmer switch.

If you act in accordance with God’s “want to”, and you “don’t let go of God” (cf. Philippians 2:12), then you will find that He will increase your “want to” because as our text above says, not only does God cause us to do His good pleasure, He gives us the will to do it. Do you want to?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Stress-Free Sinning? (with audio)


But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity."
(2 Timothy 2:19 – ESV)

Not every true Christian will experience the same degree of personal, practical sanctification. The thief on the cross was saved but since he died that same day he didn’t have the time that the Apostle Paul had to show forth the fruits of righteousness. We instinctively and interpretively understand that some believers will progress further into the sanctification process, they will press on to the mark in a more pronounced fashion than some others. On the other end of the spectrum, some might seem to be acting like unbelievers, while they may truly be born again.

This brings an interesting question. Why are there so many genuine Christians who persist in the same patterns of sin, apparently without pangs of conscience, and without repentance, apparently hard-hearted against the communion of Christ, the conviction of the Spirit and the commands of the Word? Why do they sin without stress, without struggle, and seemingly without significance?

Well, first off, the inward sins of the heart that perhaps do not manifest as overt, “big time” sins that everyone condemns are sins nonetheless. We all have sin; it is just that Christians are supposed to be striving toward holiness, wanting to be blameless while realizing they will never be completely sinless in this lifetime. Still, what about those who don’t even try? How do you tell the Christians from the non-believers, in that some professing believers live “worse” moral lives than some non-believers? Why would God even allow this?

We know this for sure; it is all a part of God’s plan. Jesus said it would be so, and that we won’t know until the end who the real believers were, and also that many think they are true believers but they aren’t. The answer is in our personal valuing of practical sanctification, both temporal and eternal. God is giving us opportunity.

Peter says to make your calling and election sure by growing in fruitfulness (2 Peter 1:5-10). Now when he says this he is not saying that you are making your calling and election sure to God, but to yourself, because the Lord knows those who are His, and because the second inscription on the sure foundation of God says that those who are His, those who claim the name of Christ are to depart from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). We also make our calling and election sure to others we know (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4), others we meet (1 Thessalonians 1:6-9), and perhaps even to Satan and the demonic realm (2 Timothy 2:26).

Those that are doing this are being made useful and ready for every good work by cleansing themselves from sin (2 Timothy 2:20-25). Here in 2 Timothy Paul speaks about a cleansing that isn’t just something God does for us as we sit passively. This is a self-cleansing for service that goes beyond a general cleansing for sin. 1 John 1:9 would be speaking of the general cleansing from the guilt and penalty of sin, but Paul and the Bible talks of another type of cleansing. We sanctify, or set apart ourselves because He has sanctified us (Leviticus 20:7-8 / 1 Corinthians 1:30).

It is not a salvation issue but an assurance of salvation issue. It is not a “make it to heaven” issue, but a “rewards in heaven” issue. It is about fruitfulness and usefulness in this life. It is about working out from our cleansing from sin, and cleansing ourselves in God’s power so that we are separated for service. It is about being prepared for production. It is about our cooperation with God’s Spirit so that we are set apart and made useful and closer to God.

However, what many do not realize is that this voluntary, temporal cleansing has eternal consequence as well as temporal aspects. They don’t go for it because they don’t see the worth; they haven’t realized it, made it real, cashed in on this truth. There are temporal aspects, such as an assurance of salvation and communion with Christ by the Holy Spirit, and eternal aspects, as with rewards in heaven. We have not stressed the practical presence of God and rewards in heaven enough.

In sanctification, God allows us to store up treasures in heaven, and allows us to win crowns that we may cast at the Master’s feet. To some, that may not seem to be all that big a deal, as long as they make it, but believe me, and believe the Bible, it will be a great big deal on that day, and you, me, and all of us will want to have more to give than we will then. We need to see this as it really is, and stress to believers the importance of the eternal state, not just as the resting place from wrath, but the place where we make an eternal statement about how we honored the glory of the Lord with our lives. For some this isn’t enough motivation, but we must endeavor to renew our minds to this truth.

To be a servant of the Lord, a vessel of honor for Him, we must be empty, clean, and available. If we refuse to empty ourselves, clean ourselves, and make ourselves available to the Lord, we will find ourselves captive to the devil in one sense or another. When you commit a sin, you let the devil win. If someone does not have the desire or the actions to depart from iniquity at all, it is fair to ask if they really belong to Jesus or if they have just deceived themselves. The sanctified, feeling God’s love, imitate it, and the more they imitate it, the more they feel it. It is worth striving for. At best, stress-free sinning is success-free sinning.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Majesty of the Master (with audio)


Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the LORD, and from the splendor of his majesty.
(Isaiah 2:10 – ESV)

As human beings we stink, and in saying that it is not self loathing but realizing that the higher we get up into God the further we have to go. We don’t preach and teach the depravity of man so as to keep men down, but so as to show them the only way up. That way is Christ, but even when we have been redeemed, in our flesh we are still low down dirty rotten scoundrels compared to God. It is only that now He has condescended to us in the person of Jesus, and having come down to save us and to bring us to God we are positioned with Him in the heavenlies. In His grace we are already arrived at our destination, we simply await glorification.

Now then, in this life we can because of His grace become more and more sanctified, we can scale the heights of God holiness. On this side of eternity we can get a small glimpse of the reality of God, because we now climb up to God on the back of our beloved Savior. And this we do by God’s grace. We are still imperfect, and as Paul said we haven’t arrived in fullness, but we can press on toward the upward call, we don’t have to stay in our sin.

So realize that when we say we stink, we stink less than we did before, but the more we see of God the more we realize our stink. No I am not worse than I was before, by the grace of God I am more holy than I have ever been, and by the grace of God I am becoming more holy every second of every day, all praise to His name. But the more light that we have the more dust that we see. We do go up into the heights, but then we see just how much higher the Lord is than we had thought.

The more holy I become, the more holy I realize He is, and how much further from Him I am than I ever could have imagined had He not graciously allowed me to ascend to the heights I now scale. The higher I get the more beautiful He appears, even as the more awful my sin appears. I am sick of the false humility that says we cannot dare ascend higher up in the mountain of God’s majesty. Having said that, I want to go higher up into God, not so as to glory in my climb, or in its own heights, or to look down on others, but so as to revel in the majesty of my Master. Oh, just how lofty are you, my Lord? Only heaven will begin to reveal it, and even then, it will take forever to explore it.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wake Up! (with audio)


…the hour has come for you to wake from sleep…
(Romans 13:11 – ESV)

Martin Luther, in the first of the 95 theses, said, "The whole life of a believer is repentance". That makes us consider this question: what role does repentance have, if any, in the life of a believer, one who has already repented of their sins and been saved by Jesus Christ? If we have already been forgiven, then how or why would repentance be an ongoing thing? Does the Bible teach a repentant lifestyle?

The Apostle Paul, in a sense, said that repentance and faith are the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20-27). In the verses following our text in Romans 13, Paul says to the believers that they need to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (vs.12), to walk properly as in the daytime (vs.13) and to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh (vs.14). Friends these things are what a repentant lifestyle is all about.

Colossians 2:6 tells us that “as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him”. You received Him in repentance and faith, so you are to walk in that daily. Daily repentance is about fellowship with God, and this requires a humble admission of our dependence on God. When you woke up this morning, were you God? No? Then repent! Of what, you ask? Think of it this way, repentance is looking away from ourselves and toward God. We must do that every day.

The Apostle John tells us “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This is about more than the initial salvation experience, it is about fellowship with God. When we sin, we are forgiven, that has already been accomplished. Our sin cannot negate the relationship. We may never speak to our earthly father, but we are still his offspring. However, if we aren’t talking to him, we may have a relationship, but it is soured, in that we have no fellowship.

In the same way we, as believers, can grieve the Holy Spirit with our disobedience (Ephesians 4:30), and in a sense, fall out of fellowship with the Father. Oh, He still loves us, and we will still make it to heaven. But we lack the assurance of a daily walk, that is, until we repent and receive the blessings of being able to look at our Father without having to hang or head, or turning away completely from Him. We draw near to Him, and we know He draws near to us (James 4:8). That is how we draw near, in repentance. Again, repentance is turning back to see God. David said it like this: “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Psalm 51:12).

In Romans 12:2 Paul instructs us to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” If part of repentance (metanoia) is changing our mindset, then to change our mind is to renew our mind, and so therefore, to be transformed is by repentance. As we are transformed, as we grow in grace, we learn this repentance more perfectly.

Luther was right...

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here Comes the Judge (with audio)


…you have no excuse… For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself…
(Romans 2:1 – ESV)

Paul is not telling people that they are not supposed to judge actions and behavior. He is not saying that we should all just “go with the flow” and let everything and anything go. He is talking about hypocrisy. He is saying that one cannot escape judgment by judging others, by appealing to how much worse their behavior is to your own. Such judgment leads one away from the necessary self-examination and repentance for one’s own sin, and leads to your own inevitable judgment (Hebrews 9:27). He is not condemning judging others, or using discernment, but judging others without first judging yourself.

The most quoted verse or passages from the Bible today do not come from Psalm 23 or even John 3:16, but Matthew 7:1 (NIV), “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”. This is why context is so important because you could just take this part of our verse from Romans 2, “anyone who judges”, marry it with Matthew 7:1, “judge not”, and come out with some liberal doctrine just like we see today. The cry of the unrepentant is “who are you to say”, but this is what the authority of the Word of God answers when we use it properly (Titus 1:9-11).

Paul speaks of discerning, or judging those who are following Christ in truth and says to follow them (Philippians 3:17). He speaks of putting away some and staying away from others (Romans 16:17-19 / 1 Timothy 6:5 / 2 Timothy 3:5 / Titus 3:8-11). We are supposed to judge (1 Corinthians 11:31 / 1 Peter 4:17 / John 7:24 / Matthew 16,18), we are supposed to discern (Philippians 1:9), but we are supposed to look at ourselves first (1 Corinthians 11:31), looking at discipline as a means of restoration not condemnation (Galatians 6:1).

We are to judge, and we are to realize that we have given ourselves to the Savior instead of giving ourselves over to sin: the good works that follow do not save us but they are a sign that we are saved; they are not the root but the fruit of our relationship with God (1 Corinthians 6:8-11). We may still commit acts of unrighteousness, but our lives are not characterized by an unbroken pattern of unrighteousness. Believers get convicted and then they commit themselves to change. We know we are bad to the bone, and that we need a Savior, it is those who think they are righteous and do not need a Savior and those who judge based on their own worth rather than Christ’s worth who will be in trouble. Jesus takes you as you are, but He doesn’t leave you there.

Think of the situation regarding the Corinthian church, which had a man that had slept with his father’s wife. He had continued in this sin defiantly, and the church thought it no big deal, but Paul instructed them to put him out of the fellowship (1 Corinthians 5:9-13).

Church discipline is a forgotten practice today. However, we must not be ignorant of Satan’s schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11). In our desire to do things rightly, we must be careful not to let the pendulum swing too far, from overly casual to overly critical. Paul had put the Corinthian church to the test, and they applied the punishment. Now, apparently the man repented, and Paul told them to comfort him in reconciliation and restoration (2 Corinthians 2:5-10).

It boils down to whether someone has a repentant attitude or not. We cannot judge a person’s soul, but we can keep them from peddling rotten fruit in our assemblies (Matthew 7:15-20).

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Man on a Mission (with audio)


…that the works of God should be made manifest in him
(John 9:3)

Thinking of this particular passage in the book of John, lets imagine for a moment. What if God were to ask this man to go back after being in heaven, if He gave him a mission to glorify God so that people could see a person who exalted God in spite of seemingly bad circumstances?

Of course this man would agree fervently to go; he would be delighted to go on such a mission. He would know what is going on and why he was sent, and know that this temporal situation was giving glory to the One he knew so well, and loved so much. We have an example: remember the two witnesses sent back from heaven in the book of Revelation?

Well now, imagine this: What if, after you died and went to heaven, God sent you back to be a witness and He sent you back blind, wanting you to rejoice to His glory despite your circumstance? You would gladly do it, knowing where you came from, why you were sent, the eternal reward, and where you were going to return!

Friends, in a very real way, God has done that. We are on a mission. You see we are already in the heavenlies positionally (Ephesians 2:6) and we have been sent to testify to the glory of God (Ephesians 1:11-14). In John 9:5 Christ said that while He was in the world He was its light. He still is in this world, manifesting God’s glory, through Christ in you the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Jesus was and is the light and now we are to manifest that light, we are to be lights in this world (Matthew 5:16 / Philippians 2:15). Christ says that we are already salt and light we do not become them. The mission is to let your light shine.

Do you want to let the glory of Christ shine through you? Well look at what 1 Peter 4:12-16 says. Paul said he glories in infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9). He says that although our outward man is dying our inward man is flourishing (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). We cannot “see” the power but others can experience it; it is the eternal power being made manifest in His saints. We don’t exert power against things that come against us we withstand (Matthew 7:24-25). This is what it is to know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10); it is life from death. We can say with Paul that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It’s to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16). It’s rejoicing in knowing that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). You can let the glory shine now by understanding that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

We are on a mission, and we will not, indeed we cannot fail. Look with me at 2 Corinthians 2:14 – He causes us always to triumph! Jesus said that He had overcome the world (John 16:33), and that He is in us (John 14:21), and that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Well, is it showing, do you complain as much as the other guy when things are looking bad? Or do you show forth the fact that you are God’s child, and that though he slay me yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15)? You have got to know it and believe it; this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith (1 John 5:4). We are on a mission of faith just like Abraham, the father of faith (Romans 4:11-16).

The Bible is full of men sent on a mission, men who weren’t ready to do what it took, or so they thought. Think about Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and Paul. God has a mission for you and He will see you through. Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). Faithful is he who calls, who will also do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

You may say that for me it is mission: impossible, but my bible says, For with God nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37) and all things are possible to him that believeth (Mark 9:33). You might think that you haven’t got what it takes, but it isn’t you that is responsible for the results! Let’s say it like this; if you get placed you’ll get graced, God doesn’t call the gifted He gifts the called. He will say to you mission: accomplished! Mission impossible for the unsaved but mission unstoppable for the child of God!

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Averse to Avowed (with audio)


For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
(Romans 1:26 – ESV)

The point of our text today is that God has given, is giving, and will give mankind over to unnatural desires. Paul mentions homosexuality as an example, but this is just the obvious manifestation of it. All sin is on the same road. God gives men over to rule themselves, and men do more than sexual perversion, they give themselves to all sorts of unnatural things.

When we don’t find our passion in the glory of God, we will be consumed with our own natural passions, and then, being jaded, we will turn ourselves over to unnatural passions. We become so bored with ourselves that we have to invent new forms of evil (1:30). A man cannot be delivered up to a greater slavery than to be given up to his own lusts.

Young man, young woman, all men, all women, make no mistake, there is a diminishing return on the evil you do and the evil you look at. Even the secular world knows of this, it is called the law of diminishing returns. This law says that we grow less sensitive to the same level of stimuli over time, and thus require ever-increasing stimuli to elicit the same response. An alcoholic may require twelve beers to match the effects that one beer has on someone who does not drink regularly. Just as we can build up a tolerance to alcohol with regular use over time, we can build up numbness to any sin with regular use over time. For that reason, when we continually give in to sin we will require more over time to arrive at the same level of satisfaction and fantasy.

You will become a slave to that thing you don’t want anyone else in authority to know about, you will become bored with it, and will need an ever increasing stimulus to feed your appetite. To everyone I say; if you are not getting better and better you are getting worse and worse. To those of you young ones, and everyone who is ensnared in their own self: You are not wiser than those before you, your friends aren’t going to be wise enough to help you, you will not be able to turn off the switch when you want to, you will not be able to stop yourself, you will go from one bad thing to another, or you will trade one bad thing for another, and think you have escaped yourself and your sin, but you will not escape the coming judgment, you are not escaping it now, you won’t be able to turn back then, you must turn back NOW!

Verse 27 in the KJV says they burned in their passions. You can think you’re smarter than me, that I am just a fool, that this is all a show. You can think in your heart that this isn’t you because you aren’t turning into a homosexual. Well let me tell you, Paul was telling them, and he is telling you, that you may not become a homosexual, but that isn’t the bigger point, the point is that you are going to get worse and worse, fall further and further away from God, if you do not give up the idolatry of yourself. You may not burn for another man, but you burn for your own plan. Now is the time to be saved, turn or burn!

This world shows you how it is, and where it is headed. Homosexuality, just like all sin eventually, has gone from being averse to being allowed, and now it is going from allowed to avowed. Isn’t this what we see in television and movies, they are becoming more promiscuous and more perverse every year. What has changed, are these things less evil, or are we more evil? What do we think this is, liberation? No, it is slavery. We are so bound we think we’re becoming free. Indeed we are, free to be ourselves, the morally depraved, sexually confused, socially chaotic children of disobedience that we are at heart, unless God gives us a new heart.

Think about it; is this you? Things you once said you would never do, now you do, you look for ways to do them, and you burn with passion for them. We think we can sin, and still be in our right minds, but we don’t see sin as sinful as it is. Every sin you commit affects your mindset towards sin itself; every little bit ruins a little bit of your mind. Look again at verses 21-22, when we sin willingly, we go against the knowledge of God, we don’t glorify Him, we are not thankful, we become a little more hard hearted, and we start down the road to being or remaining a fool. That’s why Paul says that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), because sin is exceedingly sinful. On your own you won’t win against sin.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Monday, July 20, 2009

Judgment Day Delay? (with audio)


God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie
(Romans 1:24-25 – ESV)

Often we hear that if people are not repentant then God is going to visit America with judgment, or the church with judgment, or many other variations on this theme. The truth is, judgment is already here, and that is why we see what we do.

In this text those who dishonored God were given up to dishonor themselves. The impurity Paul is speaking of in this text is mainly sexual, sensual disorder. This type of disorder is a prime example of spiritual disorder. In many lives this is the starting place for the downward slide. However, all the disorder we see in the world, in the social chaos, sexual confusion, and sinful carrying on are a judgment of God because we exchanged the value of God for other things; we turned our knowledge of God into images.

Now let’s get the order of this disorder right in our minds. People believe that we do these vile things we see, and so God is displeased, and He is, but the process is vice versa. God is displeased and we do these vile things as a result.

When God speaks of judgment, often it is not that God will lay His hand on us, but take it off us. He will leave us to our own depraved devices. The restraining power of God's grace is being lifted and man is being left to himself (a temporal and an ongoing fulfillment, a parallel of what we see in Romans 1:18-32). Judgment is here, the wrath of God is being incrementally revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold down, or suppress, the truth with their unrighteousness. It is not that these vile things bring God's wrath, but that these vile things are signs of God's wrath. The Hand is coming off but some will be saved out of the midst of this corruption even as the whole is being damned.

When Paul wrote this it had happened before, but he says it was happening then, and it is happening now, the question is, is it happening to you? We make an image of God even as Christians and we serve and worship it instead of God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible, and we only see the Bible as we want to.

Get it right – It is idolatry first, immorality second. Everything sinful hinges upon this exchange in all its forms. We don’t like God as He chooses to reveal Himself, and/or we don’t like the restrictions God places upon us, and we create a god of our own image. Apply this to order your sanctification. Stop the idolatry first, and you’ll stop the sin. We want to stop the habitual sin first, so that we can please God, but we need to please God, and He will stop the habitual sin. Get the order right and you will be in order. We have habitual sin because of how we habitually see God. With God’s guidance you can judge yourself rightly, so don’t delay.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Friday, July 10, 2009

Make or Break (with audio)


Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images
(Romans 1:22-23 – ESV)

Paul gives us a historical sketch of religion. He maintains that when man turned from God’s view of Himself in creation, he twisted and perverted pure religion into various forms of error and confusion. He is giving us the description, in just a few concise and convicting words, of the whole beginnings and beliefs of pagan mythology. They did not glorify God as God, and were not thankful to Him for what they did have, and so they lost discernment, and became darkened in their hearts and minds, and started to do all sorts of vain and vile things.

The world thinks that our religion is on the rise, but God tells us and history shows us that our religion is on the fall, not on the incline but on the decline. Religion will not ascend above that which it worships and man will never evolve beyond his sinful nature. Instead of man made in God’s image we have traded it for God made in man’s image. The religions of the world exchange God’s glory for less and they become less. You become like what you worship, and we as humans become more and more flawed, we are not God and God allows us to see what we are capable of. How vain in our imaginings and dark in our hearts we are.

This is what happened then, but it is also what happens now. This is what they did, and this is what we do. We think that we don’t do this today, exchange the glory of God for images, but yes we do, today it is simply more devious, more insidious, and more perverse. Young adults are taught this and adults model this behavior all the time. Commercials sell images, we say image is everything, we have self-help books and magazines, we all learn to project a certain image, and on and on and on it goes. We are more concerned about our image to others instead of God’s image for His glory. If you are more concerned about your image than you are about God’s glory then you are “making an image”, you are self-absorbed.

You are not God; you are called to glorify Him with what you do. It is not, look what I did or what I can do for God but look what God can do through me (Mathew 5:16). We must become consumed with the glory of God or we will become consumed with self and vain in our imaginations. As Christians, we can either die to self or we will die from self (Galatians 6:7-8). Which way are you headed? Everything we say or do can be put in "check" by asking the question of... “By thinking this thought, by giving in to this feeling, by doing this action, who am I glorifying, who am I pleasing?”

Give it up for God – what do you have that He isn’t worth, and what can you gain that He isn’t greater than? People think that they can hold on to themselves and have Jesus too, but they are only worshipping a Christ of their own imagination, they have an image of Him that isn’t true. Mark 8:34-37 – Instead of trading God for images, trade everything for God. Are you an image maker or an image breaker?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Umbrella Policy (with audio)


For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
(Romans 1:18 – ESV)

Do you ever wonder why someone gets back out into the world and then it goes worse for them than ever (2 Peter 2:20-22)? Doesn’t it always seem to be the case when someone was a professing Christian as a young person, but then they go off and live any old way, that they always seem to have car trouble, job trouble, money trouble, and every other kind of trouble? Wonder why? The truth will only set you free if you continue in it (John 8:31-32 / Mark 4:26-28), if you suppress it this will cause you to be in even worse bondage than before.

Of course, you can’t just see someone in trouble and conclude that they are out of God’s will, that would be being like Job’s so called friends, but we must be mature enough to know the difference, and its easy to tell sometimes. When someone won’t read the bible, won’t go to church, won’t commit to prayer, and wants to justify their lifestyle, its easy to see why they are in so much trouble. We need to tell them its going to stay that way if they are called by God to be a Christian, because once they get out of God’s system and back into the world’s system, then Satan can and does have a field day with them (Ephesians 4:27), and we need to tell them to wake up (Ephesians 5:14). What Satan wants to do to you as a Christian, as a called out person, is to destroy your joy, ruin your witness, and cast doubts on your assurance of salvation.

God is not mad at you. If you are a Christian, He is not against you for your sin; He is for you against your sin. He isn’t charging the sin to your account any more. So then why do bad things happen when you sin? Because sin has its own penalty here on this earth, it has consequences, the death that naturally occurs (Galatians 6:8 / Romans 8:13). He reminds you of what others are going to get. If you are indeed His, God will get your attention one way or another.

Going back into worldly habits is like stepping out from under the umbrella in the rain – sin has its own consequences. When you are called of God but then go back into the world, no wonder you get beat up worse than before. The whole world is indeed against you, you must realize that you are in a war and that is what work out your salvation with fear and trembling means. Don’t you realize nor wonder why new believers who go back get the tar beat out of them worse than ever, also why people that have been further into God have farther to fall when they stray? If they are out from under the umbrella they fall further; no wonder Paul says to work it out with fear and trembling. The farther you are up into God, the further you fall when you let go. Now God won’t let go, but He will let you drop. He will let you get spanked.

Why does He let you get spanked but others who don’t know God or who do but don’t want to follow God seem to have it oh so well? Those others don’t have it so well, anyway; they are without God, without hope, without heaven. They can gain the world but lose their soul. How many gain the world and are still miserable anyway? They can never be satisfied (Ecclesiastes 3:11), they just move from one thing to another. More, more, more, but its never enough; only God can truly satisfy your hungry soul. If He loves you He spanks you, if He doesn’t spank you He doesn’t love you (Hebrews 12:8,11). Some people just don’t learn, even when spanked, so God has to continue to use more drastic measures, by allowing sin to run its course, and the world and the devil to beat you up and/or keep you down. Some of these people will indeed make it to heaven, but they will never lead anyone else there.

If a child of God won't repent of some sin in their life that God has brought to their attention, then He will deal with them in their sin. When we say He spanks you, it isn’t that He puts His hand on you, it’s that He takes it off. First He speaks (through His Word, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, through preaching, and through the witness of others and through circumstances), then He spanks (this would be light chastisement, such as a temporary sickness or trial to get their attention), then He scourges (this would be heavy chastising that is often permanent and scarring, such as losing a loved one, losing a limb, a heavy financial or material loss, etc.), and lastly if all this chastisement is not heeded, the Lord takes His final step, He separates (by death, this is referred to in 1 John as the sin unto death, and seen in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11). The wrath of God is revealed when you step back into the world system; you are operating according to a different principle now. You have to live by it, and you can only live by it, and you will die by anything else. When we backslide we need to get back to the gospel.

It isn’t that God won’t let you suffer if you are a Christian (Philippians 1:29), but we should suffer for doing well not for doing wrong (1 Peter 2:19-20, 3:17). We are supposed to grow in the faith, and grow in grace. If not we backslide, and God lets us taste it. Is your life revealing the righteousness and glory of God, or the wrath of God?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Gospel of Affliction (with audio)


…but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God
(2 Timothy 1:8)

The bottom line about Spiritual power is the faith to endure. Not only the persecutions that come about because of being a witness for Christ by sharing the Good News vocally, but also by just being a member of the household of faith. We will suffer not only persecution, but also afflictions.

Paul suffers because of the grace of God, the affliction of the Gospel! He is not ashamed. Many preachers are only telling fleshly people what they want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), presenting a victorious life by applying so-called Christian principles rather than presenting Jesus Christ, life through death, and the way of repentance and faith, which Paul calls the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:20,27). Preachers who preach nothing but “all things are always going to be well”, saying peace, peace, where there is no peace, are giving false hopes to lost people, and leading saved people in the wrong direction. Yes, God desires to prosper us, to have us well and whole, but part of the process will involve pain, so that we may be conformed, before we are comforted, and so we may be able to comfort others who are also being conformed (2 Corinthians 1:3-9).

Notice that our text says afflictions, plural, not just persecution for witnessing, but also having to go through physical difficulty, mental anguish, crucifying the flesh, and other crises (Romans 8:14-18 / Philippians 1:29 / Colossians 1:24 / Galatians 5:24 / 1 Peter 4:1 / Acts 14:22 / 1 Thessalonians 3:3). Suffering aligns us with Christ, and keeps us humble (James 4:9-10). Partaking of suffering helps us learn God’s Word, Will, and Way; Martin Luther said that afflictions are the touchstone of biblical interpretation (Psalm 119:71).

We need to stir up the gift of God, and the gift is the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. Because of the gift (the Holy Ghost) we can partake of the afflictions, by the power of God to us (Ephesians 1:19 / Zechariah 4:6), not an earthly power. The testimony of the Lord is tribulation (Revelation 6:9), the willingness to suffer as Paul had, and he was not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16). Remember Paul desired to know the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).

He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our big goings on, like mountain moving, but His own purpose. His purpose is to make us like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29), not just to fulfill the Great Commission. The great grace of God may seem more manifest when a mountain is moved by faith, but truly, it is the mundane, the everyday, the dear old saint who faithfully comes to church, and who prays for lost ones everyday without fail, and who suffers through ill health, yet still keeps a loving heart toward people, and an unyielding devotion to Christ that showcases the power of God most clearly for His glory. The calling is not just to “do stuff” it is to suffer, to take up our cross and follow Him. We are to do this, not with a stoic “grit your teeth and bear it” mentality, but with joy that we are partaking in the fellowship of Christ (James 1:2, 5:10-11). We are to show our world the power, the grace that brings steadfast faith, the power to endure no matter what life throws at us, to defeat the works of the Devil, this is the victory, even our (immovable) faith (1 John 5:4)!

We can only keep this steadfastness, this boldness, and this witness by the power of the Holy Ghost within us (Romans 8:9 / Colossians 1:27 / Galatians 2:20). Think about the book of Acts, whenever we see them receive power it is immediately met and tested with persecution; we must have faith no matter what (Job 13:15). The victory we have in Christ is not being able to avoid all affliction, it is having the power to persevere, the peace to be able to endure, to truly be Christlike (John 16:33). Yes, the Lord does bring us out of things, praise God (2 Timothy 3:11 / 4:17), but we must realize that to lose faith because of our afflictions is to deny God.

Just remember, when you see the whip in His hand, it was on His back first. This is the gospel of affliction, that He who allows us to feel the stripes of sanctification bore them all for our salvation.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Faith to Faith (with audio)


For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
(Romans 1:17)

Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because the righteousness of God is revealed in it. This righteousness, as shown by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is placed over and opposed to the depravity of man we see illustrated in the verses following this one. Here Paul is not talking primarily about the justice of God that rightly damns sinners, he is talking about the righteousness of God that grants sinners eternal life for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. He is not ashamed because it is not a man-centered gospel; it reveals the righteousness of God, not the power of man. The gospel is that power which renders the righteousness of God operative. The gospel isn't a storehouse of religious information; it is how men and women are made right with God. He is talking about the gift of grace that is received by faith.

When God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that the man was actually good. It does not even mean, at that point, that He makes him good. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all. It is also the righteousness of Jesus Christ accredited to our account. It’s more than just the forgiveness of our sins. That would merely leave us with a blank slate. Innocence is not perfection, and so we need more than His death, we need His life. Just as our sin was imputed to Christ so that He could pay the full price of it for us; in exactly that same way, His perfect life counts as ours by imputation – 2 Corinthians 5:21 / Romans 3:21-22, 4:5-6 / Philippians 3:9 / Galatians 3:24-29 / Colossians 3:3 / Jeremiah 23:6. We are not justified by the righteousness Christ works in us, but by the righteousness Christ is for us.

The phrase “from faith to faith” means “by sheer faith” or “faith alone”, that is all it takes and all it can take. We see the necessity of a complete trust in Christ and the folly of placing any trust in our own good works – religious or otherwise – for salvation. It is not from faith to works (Galatians 3:3). The gospel is an outreach to others and it has an in-reach for us. The process and the progress of the gospel in our lives change us (2 Corinthians 3:18). We mustn’t treat the gospel as a common thing (Hebrews 10:29, 2:3), as if we need something else because it isn’t just for the future, the gospel is for your whole life. We need to be living in the faith, living for the faith, and living by the faith (Habakkuk 2:4 / Galatians 3:11 / Hebrews 10:38).

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Monday, July 06, 2009

Gospel Power (with audio)


…for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believeth…
(Romans 1:16b)

Recall where Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel. He was not ashamed of the way to the gospel (preaching), the truth of the gospel (the death and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of sins), or the life from the gospel (we die to self and live for Christ). We discussed the signs of being ashamed of the gospel, ashamed of Jesus Christ. It is when we don’t preach it – sugar coating the offense of the gospel – take off the hard edges and it won’t penetrate the heart. When we don’t believe it, we present the good news as self-improvement rather than self-denying. We change things or add a thing because we don’t believe what God did is enough for today. When we don’t live it – when we aren’t lights in the world, having the dimmer switch on.

Here Paul begins to say why he is not ashamed, and he begins by telling us that the gospel is God’s power revealed for the salvation of men. Now, every one is looking for salvation these days, in whatever way they define it, but Paul said he was not ashamed of the gospel because IT IS the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes it to be so.

What is salvation? What are we saved from? People define salvation in temporal terms most often, but philosophers and thinkers have realized that we are in no way capable of actually delivering ourselves ultimately. Salvation is justification, sanctification, and glorification (Romans 8:28-30 / 1 Corinthians 1:30). We are saved from God’s wrath, and saved to Jesus Christ. We have been saved from the penalty of sin, and we are saved from the power of sin, and to the degree that we continue to believe it (John 8:31-32 / Mark 4:26-28) we will realize that, and in the eternal state in heaven we will be saved from the presence of sin, amen. What we should pray for now is to be saved from the pleasure of sin (Hebrews 11:25).

God is not mad at you. He is not against you for your sin; He is for you against your sin. He isn’t charging the sin to your account any more if you are a Christian. So then why do bad things happen when you sin? Because sin has its own penalty here on this earth, it has consequences, the death that naturally occurs (Galatians 6:8 / Romans 8:13).

Every one is looking for power – and Paul had seen it at work – if you are carrying the gospel you need not be ashamed at your lesser status, you have the most powerful message in history, and you have what everyone is truly looking for, salvation. The gospel isn’t a way for people to lift themselves up; it lifts them up. It doesn’t bring power; it is power, God’s power. God must do the work. He is the potter and we are the clay. We carry this power as jars of clay. He is the vine and we are the branches. We don’t grow the fruit we only show the fruit of the gospel. Rome had all the power in the world but the people were powerless to make themselves righteous before God. It is the same with the USA today, and all nations and peoples.

Every one is looking for something or someone to believe in – Who would be ashamed of the power of God, except those that don’t know it or believe it as such?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Friday, July 03, 2009

In the Spirit (with audio)


...worship God in the spirit…
(Philippians 3:3)

Paul points to the truth that the true Israel are the ones who are circumcised in their hearts (Romans 2:28-29 / Romans 4:12 / Romans 9:6-8 / Colossians 2:11), and that these are they who worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Let us realize that God created individual taste and culture, and that music style, etc., isn’t what is important, but the substance of our devotion and faith towards Him is.

This is part of what Paul means by having no confidence in the flesh, or confidence in external rituals, which Jesus has done away with. Ritual such as circumcision is obviously not worshipping in the Spirit, and worshipping God in the Spirit does not mean using spiritual gifts or a way of doing things. It is a way of not doing things in a sense. It is worship aided by the Spirit, yes, but it means heart matters, not outward show.

An experienced, wise man once wrote what many men of God have grieved over. He said, “As a pastor I again and again observed folks who could never be content in a church that seeks to be Christ-centered, and to preach the Word, if it doesn't engage in certain peripheral activities. They can't "feel the Spirit" without certain worship-styles, entertainments, playtimes. For them, "feeling the Spirit" – not preaching Christ – is the be-all and end-all.”

That is the truth. People just seem "bored" with the Bible, and "casual" with Christ. What they want is to feel what they call "the anointing", as if that is anything other than Christ Himself. People think being “in the Spirit” means some sort of mystical feeling, or extraordinary emotion. They will even point this out to others, telling of times when someone or something was “in the Spirit” or “in the flesh”, as if they have some modern day detect-o-meter.

You see, if some aren’t smart enough or learned enough to be puffed up by knowledge, they will point out the perils of being puffed up by knowledge. Many of these same people will be puffed up by their own imagination, leading them to believe they have some innate spiritual power of discernment. They can just “feel” if someone is being fleshly or spiritual. Funny how these types fall prey to every fad that comes down the pike.

Friends, rejoice about Jesus, and forget the show – get back to justification by faith, and the sanctification will follow. The reason some have to try everything under the sun is that they fail to focus on their justification, from which sanctification flows (1 Corinthians 1:30). They treat their salvation as a common thing and believe spiritual worship to be something other than the simple adoration of Christ. But the Holy Spirit has the role of pointing us to Christ as our all in all. When that is happening, then we are “in the Spirit”.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Crucify Him! (with audio)


And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."
(John 21:19 – ESV)

As Romans 8:13 declares, if you through the Spirit put to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live. We think this means that the Spirit gives us power to put those deeds to death, but the reality is not that we put to death the flesh, but that through the Spirit we are to do it. This may seem subtle but it is important, very important. Now, what does this mean, through the Spirit?

Well let’s think about that for a second. Those led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Romans 8:14). The Spirit is leading to the cross and all the sons of God are to follow Him there to their own cross. We think to put to death the deeds of the flesh means to do it ourselves, that we crucify our flesh ourselves, but again, let's begin to think more clearly.

When we think of going to the cross, of taking up our cross, of following Jesus we think we do it, like we go running to it, but that winds up having us just bring those things we want to end to the cross, and not all of us, or not those things Jesus wants dealt with first. We pick and choose which part of our flesh will die. That isn’t what the “crucified life” is all about.

Now some of us know better than that and we think we let Him do it, but this winds up just being us praying harder and going up to the altar every week and wondering why we still want to do those same old things. With both scenarios it is still we doing it in sense.

However, the bible says we have already crucified the flesh, and that we just need to walk in that (Galatians 5:24-25). That is where the misunderstanding takes place, going from the position in Christ to the condition in life, and beginning to realize, to make real this crucified life in our daily walk. The truth is that this should be a daily walk to the cross.

Now consider this about crucifixion. Crucifixion is not putting yourself to death. Rather, it is yielding yourself up to death at the hands of others. The crucified victim doesn't get to choose his own death (John 13:37-38, 21:18-19). You don’t kill yourself, you let yourself die; you let yourself be killed. The truth is that you are already dead (Colossians 3:3); the role of others whether they realize it or not is to help you to reckon it so (Romans 6:11).

This is a big difference that people just don’t seem to get. When Jesus says follow me He means to the cross and into the hands of people who want you dead, it is the other people and other situations that kill you, but of course this is used by God to bring resurrection life.

Just as it was with Jesus, to be able to see and understand the resurrection power there must first be the cross, and before the cross there must be the garden. The question is in that garden will you plant the seed of surrender (not my will but thine be done) or the seed of self. You surrender and suffer death in the church community, or you barricade yourself in your own flesh at home. You visit the garden every day, friends. There are always new crops to harvest.

Consider John 21:21-22 – looking at others and their cross is not the Way in it is looking for a way out. Live out the truth of 1 Peter 4:1 – believe it and receive that cross when it comes, carry it, follow Him, and have life. If we win the battle of the mind we will win the battle with sin. It is time to stop sinning and start winning.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

American Idol (with audio)


…worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…
(Romans 1:25 – ESV)

It is part of the sinful nature to love ourselves more than we love God (2 Timothy 3:1-5 / Romans 1:30). Just as in Paul’s time, it continues today, but to love self more than God is to hate God, and ourselves. When we value what God has made more than we value God, we devalue God and we will inevitably devalue man. It backfires on us; we don’t even love ourselves.

We may not be doing some of those things the pagans are doing, but we have exchanged our heritage as God’s special creation and traded the value of God for less so often that in Christian circles we have bought into the secular/spiritual divide. In so doing we think we can pick and choose things out of the world such as gothic fashion or “Christian yoga” and say that it is harmless, without examining what the roots of these practices are.

The root is Mother Nature or our own nature, but we don’t recognize the source of the idolatry and so we don’t realize the scope of the sin. Why do we feel the need to do these new things? Perhaps it is because we are not comfortable with how God really is, and we must invent a god who is like us, instead of becoming like Him.

We want to worship a god who worships us. We think things have no spiritual significance because we have limited our spirituality to our quiet time in the morning and once a week at church. Of course that also goes for the thinking that we can “do” church any old way we want to, or not at all, and still call ourselves Christians.

We have made an idol of God, and often we rationalize our behavior in light of what we think are good intentions, but we are actually trying to carry out our own will without truly knowing the big picture. We might do some small good, in order to bring about our own desired end, we help others because of what they can or will do for us. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit (Proverbs 16:2 – ESV).

We must yield to God, and know His Word in order to have true judgment. The key is to know “I the Lord search the heart” (Jeremiah 17:10). Then we can pray, like David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Are you making the right exchanges in your life? Is Christ being formed in you (Galatians 4:19) or are you making an image for/of yourself?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©